Greenhouse Guard


[Seth King] sent in his latest hack where he used an Arduino to regulate various aspects of a greenhouse. He has sensors for soil and air temperature as well as light and moisture. He built a custom circuit that uses relays to power fans, lights, and heaters. Using timers and the sensor data, the devices can be triggered to create the perfect environment for sprouts. He hopes to make the whole thing wireless by integrating XBees, but for now he ran a USB cord to his computer.

Related: Automatic grow light

15 thoughts on “Greenhouse Guard

  1. Great idea, but the implementation just spells electrocution… I would not feel safe working with such a setup.

    On the stability issue: If he had used frosted plexiglass instead of plastic, the structure would have been much sturdier. As he hints that the budget was small, he could probably have got away with triangulation beams between the supports.

    As said, great idea, just needs a bit “tweaking”. ;)

  2. In before “its using an arduino so its not hacking”…

    Alas I’ve been researching doing this for a few years now. I wouldnt use fans to cool it, use the sun thats heating it up with black pvc vents that heat up and suck air out.

  3. I’m doing something very similar, but it’s using mostly off the shelf stuff like X10 modules, an ioBridge for monitoring/control/data logging. Currently I can monitor multiple temps, humidity, light levels, and CO2. I can control all the lights/heaters/etc with X10 and everything is monitored/logged on the web. Perhaps I’ll submit everything when I’m done. (As for people complaining on it not being a hack, I consider coding to be hacking as that’s how the term’s been used since the 60’s….)

  4. i was planning on using a WRT54g running OpenWRT as the brains for a sensor/control unit, doing everything over SPI, for this exact purpose. got lazy, never finished it; story of my life.

  5. I would agree nice setup, but I wouldn’t trust the low voltage electronics and high voltage lights/hair dryer under those conditions.

    My Beta 2 of my computerized grow box will using arduino to get rid of the parralel port and PS2 controller. Much less “hacky” but works a lot better and doesn’t require me to make some quick solders in the middle of the night when my temp sensor stops working :)

  6. I need this for my crops… Just think, the perfect temp and humidity,you can have a single plant produce a pound of the finest sticky icky icky! times thousand plants…. hey thats a thousand pounds of weed!

  7. @AlmostThere

    Nice little project (and I’ll assume it’s your writeup). A few notes on the lightning strike section though. It’s clear the lightning strike wasn’t direct. You’d have nothing but charred mesh if it was. And MOVs will not help with a direct hit. The best you can hope for is optical isolation on a communication standard that doesn’t have a direct ground path (hint: RS-485). B&B Electronics sells isolation modules for this purpose . You could build your own easily enough.

    Don’t forget to use a shield. Enclose your electronics and have a strong shield path.

    Again, if you get a direct hit, you are done for.

  8. but that guy himself says “in the end, the entire system did not work”.

    I think this is rather lame and could be done better. What about using a “velleman k8055” I/O board and write some sooftware in LabView interfacing the DLL that ships with the I/O board, and create a nice touchscreen-friendly GraphicalUserInterface, compile as stand-alone program and have it autostart on system bootup, then put the whole software on one of those wall-mount intel atom powered touchscreen terminals, wire your sensors and relays to the I/O ports of your interface card and you’re set.

  9. oh, with the above mentioned I/O card and wall-mount terminal idea one could also use ethernet-to-usb adapter for long-range connectivity, even via 802.11 and some old wifi router if need be…

  10. Hi,

    I’m quite interested in your greenhouse project and have a question for which I can’t seem to get a clean answer.

    Where do you place the temperature sensor, inside the greenhouse? And how do you protect it from the sun, and moisture / wind?
    i.e. how do you know the temperatures reported are accurate, and not affected by the elements?

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